This post is part of Transform Consulting Group’s blog series highlighting federal programs that provide education opportunities and/or youth development services in communities.
The U.S. Department of Justice AMBER Alert program was instituted in 1996 as an early warning system designed to help find and return abducted children. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children under 18 were reported missing in 1999. Fifteen years later in 2014, there were 466,949 missing children in the FBI’s National Crime information Center (NCIC). As of March 2015, the AMBER Alert program has recovered 745 children, and hopes to continue reuniting US families.
The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize an entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of an abducted child. In a recent online video, Attorney General Eric Holder announces new tools that will “expand the reach of the AMBER Alert program.” Partnerships with Facebook and Bing will allow AMBER Alerts to reach residents of search areas in new ways. Facebook will now send alerts to users if they are in a designated search area, along with detailed information and photographs. Bing will allow users to access Amber Alerts through online tools.
Attorney General Holder strongly encourages other companies and organizations to step forward and offer any assistance they can provide. Currently, the AMBER Alert program operates as a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, TV and radio broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to issue warnings in the most serious child abduction cases.
Individuals and organizations looking to get more involved in the AMBER Alert program can visit here to get the latest information and tools. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also has information on how to get involved on their website.